Dan Rafael Chat: July 10, 2009

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Rafael began writing for ESPN.com in March 2005 after working for five years as the boxing writer for USA Today.

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Dan Rafael: Greetings Fight Freaks to our weekly discussion. It's a big week with some good fights this weekend, including Agbeko-Darchinyan, and the announcement of the Showtime super middleweight tournament. So there is plenty to discuss. Please check out the new big notebook, which is posted, as well as a number of blogs and news stories from the week. There will also be a new blog posted shortly. So let's get to it.

Charles (Philly): I know Showtime has been feast-or-famine lately, but they deserve MAJOR props for putting this 168 tournament together. Wow!

Dan Rafael: I agree. Getting one fight done is a headache. Getting 12 over an 18-month timeframe is near impossible. So I give them all the credit in the world.

Erik (Atlanta, Ga): D$$$$ cant chat long had surgery yesterday and the painkillers are kicking in but who you got in the Vic/Agbeko fight

Dan Rafael: I think most people like Darchinyan for obvious reasons, but an Agbeko upset would not surprise me in the slightest. He can punch, he's experienced and he has a great chin.

David (Orland Park): I know you hate MMA, but will you check it out this weekend.

Dan Rafael: Let's get this straight yet again. I do not "hate" MMA. I just opt not to watch it and don't follow it. I don't watch or follow gymnastics either but I don't hate it. I will not be watching this weekend. If you are a fan and want to watch, I hope you enjoy it.

Wilson (Bronx ): No Bute and Green But we get Taylor :(

Dan Rafael: Don't complain. Would I have liked to see Bute? Sure. Green? Fine but I don't consider it a sin that he is not in there.

robpalmer135 (London): What is Pavlik going to do now. Strum and Bute seem to be the only fights out there for him until 2011, and HBO will not be big on either. They would flat out reject Balaszay.

Dan Rafael: Pavlik is in a tough spot. HBO isn't going to buy Mora. Sturm HBO would buy but it's all about coming to an agreement on price with Top Rank, which then has to come to an agreement on money with Pavlik.

Chris (Nashville): Let's face it. Taylor is still a name. He can put butts in seats.

Joel (NY): Hey Dan, you mentioned a few weeks back, there would be regional coverage on tape delay of Adamek-Gunn, what station and what time will be on ?

Dan Rafael: Not sure off the top of my head, but it will be televised. If you want to watch it live, Main Events has it on its Web site for a small fee.

Briks (Philly): Does this tournament make a Pavlik-Paul williams fight more likely?

Dan Rafael: Not at all.

Taylor (NC): Are you suprised Andre Ward's first fight is with Kessler?

Dan Rafael: Not at all. They all have to fight somebody.

Justin (St. Louis): Ever thought about becoming a manager or promoter? What about your own web page?

Dan Rafael: LOL. Not at all. As for my own Web page? Why? I make my living writing for ESPN's Web page.

Shane (Selah, WA): Dan, I agree with you. Sure the Tourney isn't perfect, but it's still the best tournament this sport has seen for a long time. I for one am pumped. I still can't beleive Ward and Dirrell will be in it.

Joel (NY): Dan, great to hear boxing will be on ESPN Classic tomorrow night at 11pm, are they expecting this to be entertaining?

Dan Rafael: I'm happy Classic is showing the Cruz-Solis rematch. I do think it will be a good scrap. I just wish the deal had been done earlier so more people would actually know it's on.

Dan (Brooklyn, NY): Now that it looks like Vitali is fighting Haye and Wlad is fighting Potvekin, what does Arreola do next? I think it's a blessing in disguise for Cris. Let him get another fight in - hopefully against a contender.

Dan Rafael: Cris will fight this fall for sure. I have heard a few rumblings about the possibility of Cris fighting Maskaev in a WBC elimination fight. It's not actually all that bad. Maskaev can still bang. It keeps Cris busy and gives him probably the best opponent of his career. Maskaev can come back after being shot down in arbitration as Vitali's mandatory and if he wins actually earn another opportunity. I think the fight makes sense all around since the division is not very deep. On top of that, I think there's no way it wouldn't be entertaining while it lasted.

Charles (Philly): It doesn't feel right to pick a bone with Showtime today, but why is the U.S.S.-Big Truck fight not being televised tomorrow? For once, they could have had a legitimate triple-header....

Dan Rafael: Please. You're like the guy who won the lottery but is pissed off because they raised your cable five bucks. Always something to complain about. Is Cunningham-Braithwaite so compelling it is must see? Not at all. Sure, if it was on it would be cool. But please. I won't lose two seconds of sleep over it not being on.

Greg (Los Angeles): Dan have their been talks about Mosley-Judah or is this just a gut feeling you had?

Dan Rafael: Strictly my own gut feeling. I think maybe Berto as well.

Dan Rafael: Freaks, we have breaking news.

Dan Rafael: OK, I just got word from the mothership in Bristol. The Cruz-Solis fight WILL be live on 360.com and Deportes. However, it will NOT be on ESPN Classic. Sorry for the confusion.

jay (Vermont): BOOOO!!! we want it on classic

Dan Rafael: Sorry, bro. I don't make the call. Apparently, it won't be on Classic because the graphics are in Spanish from the international feed and Classic is an English-language network.

Don (Buffalo, NY): Whatever happened to the proposed James Toney / Liakovich fight?

Dan Rafael: It's not going to happen due to various issues, money being the main one of course.

Eric (North Hollywood): The freaks are really whiny today...

Dan Rafael: Today? How about always.

Tim (Des Moines, IA): Not seeing that lasting yet on ESPN Deportes. I am seeing a listing on Azteca America on Saturday night though. Could that be the same card do you think?

Dan Rafael: Not sure. But since the ESPN Deportes deal was just finished, the cable guides are not up to date yet. But it's on from Bristol tells me.

Chris (Los Angeles): $ - Junama vs. Mtagwa! Wow. Don't leave the couch when that one starts.

Dan Rafael: If it comes off, it could be a good little scrap.

Jake (Rockville, MD): D-Sizzle, this 168pd tourney is great exposure for the sport and all those involved. It gives the casual fan a chance to get familiar with the fighters in a tournament format which everyone eats up. Who do you have as the favorite? Who is your dark horse pick?

Dan Rafael: I haven't really sat and thought about the outcomes yet but off the top of my head I think you have to make Kessler the favorite. He's the most complete fighter in the tournament. I think Andre Ward is the dark horse.

Berndawg (Chicago): Sounds like JUANMA stays on 9/26 at the small room at MSG?

Dan Rafael: Correct. Of course, it could still change.

Johnnie (NJ): Can you tell us Freaks a little more about Agbeko? His record on boxrec looks more built up than Tye Fields. Yet many consider him to be very good. What gives?

Dan Rafael: Agbeko is a very solid fighter. He was robbed in Germany against Sidorenko in his lone loss. He beat the crap out of the solid Luis Perez and had a great fight in December with Gonzalez. He's tough as nails. What fighter from Ghana isn't? He is in the same camp as Joshua Clottey.

Tony (Houston, TX): Will they find a replacement if somebody drops out? If Taylor goes and gets knocked out by Abraham who's to say he won't just retire.

Dan Rafael: That is all addressed in the contract. If someone drops out for whatever reason, there is a mechanism to replace a fighter. Showtime has the final say in that. Don't worry!

CHris (Columbus, Oh): What were the advantages that made Showtime go for a round robin tourney as opposed to single-elimination?

Dan Rafael: I think it was a way to convice the fighters and their promoters to join. This way each guy is guaranteed at least three fights, so a loss isn't such a disaster.

Benny T (DC): Dan,Who do you see as the next possible opponent for Paul Williams? His career is wasting away with all of this forced inactivity.

Dan Rafael: Inactivity? Dude fought in April. It's been three months.

JNA (Bittersville, USA): People are too quick to dismiss Taylor, methinks. He's a solid, supremely skilled fighter who's had two tough losses. This hardly makes him washed up!

Dan Rafael: I think the wrap on him is his stamina and chin. Not a good combo to have be soft when you have to face a beast like Arthur Abraham, who can crack and has late power.

Hayato (Japan): There is no chance in hell that Showtime did not offer Bute into the tournement.

Dan Rafael: According to Bute's people, there was no offer and Showtime has not refuted that.

vSerg (UK): Is there any update on Daniel Jacobs next opponent?

Dan Rafael: He is supposed to fight Aug. 22 on the Diaz-Malignaggi undercard. Golden Boy is hoping to match him with Billy Lyell, who upset John Duddy not long ago. HBO doesn't want to televise that fight. So Jacobs could face Lyell and HBO would just show clips. Or, Golden Boy can get a better opponent HBO would be more willing to televise. It's up in the air.

Tony (Tampa): Taylor's been stopped by Froch and Pavlik. Not exactly pushovers plus he had both badly hurt. His resume' is the strongest out of any fighter in the tourney.

Dan Rafael: You're probably right considering he has two wins over Hopkins. But at super middle, he has no credentials other than a win over a faded Jeff Lacy. At super middle, Kessler has the best resume of the six guys.

Doug (Dallas): any scheduled fights for Lara or Rigondeaux???

Dan Rafael: Do you ever check the ESPN.com schedule I update every day? If you did you would see they are both on ESPN2 next week, which, by the way, I will be in studio for as your co-host with BK.

JQ (NM): Who would be your pick right now for least likely to win the tourney?

Dan Rafael: Taylor.

JNA (Bittersville, USA): Urango vs. Bailey has major barn-burner potential. Two guys whose "defense" consists of throwing as many haymakers as possible. It's entirely possible we'll have a Rocky II simultaneous dual knockdown gimmick in this fight!

CHris (Columbus, Oh): I think a lot of the comments on Taylor demonstrate why he was a good pick for the tourney. He's the kind of guy you just want to root for.

LeQentez (Waterbury, CT): Come on Dan, Taylor's your least likely opposed to Dirrell?

Dan Rafael: Absolutely.

Charles (Philly): Any word on Kirkland's legal situation?

Dan Rafael: He's in jail for awhile.

Alex (Clev, OH): Dan-o, Is it still possible that Winky will fight on the Floyd undercard like was mentioned on the previous date?

Dan Rafael: Anything is possible. That undercard has not been completed, so it's up in the air.

Wilson (Bronx ): Taylor's great as long at the fight does not go past 8 rounds

Hugo (Tallahassee): How impressed were you with Fast Eddie's beatdown of Dimitrenko? He looked good, but Dimitrenko looked really bad too What is his next move?

Dan Rafael: Eddie did look good and Dimitrenko looked horrible. I give Eddie credt for coming in tremendous condition, fighting hard and throwing punches. His promoter, Dan Goossen, told me that Eddie will fight again this year. After that, they'll look at the schedule because he will be the due mandatory for Wladimir.

Brendan (Queens,N.Y.): Dan, did you gave a chance to see that disgrace of a sham job in the Dibb-yamaguchi fight? What a hometown jobbing yamaguchi got..

Dan Rafael: I wouldn't watch Billy Dib fight again if you paid me. So, no, I haven't seen it and don't care.

Marques (Utica, NY ): Dan, great blog on Sugar Shane the other day, but Berto take that fight? Seems like quite a step up for such a young fighter -- see Victor Ortiz about moving too fast.

Dan Rafael: Thanks. Berto, however, is way more experienced as a pro than Ortiz. Berto may not have faced elite fighters but he's faced some seasoned pros who are good like Collazo and Urango.

Rob (Atlanta): Danaconda! Did us boxing fans make it a week without an injury delaying a significant fight?

Dan Rafael: Don't jinkx it.

Luke (PL): Hello Dan. Do you know anything about Adamek - Hopkins fight for january 2010?

Dan Rafael: It is something HBO has some interest in. I hope it happens.

Howard (RI): Speaking of 'don't jinx it', you've made it through over half an hour without erasing all of the questions.

Dan Rafael: It's not me who does that. It's this terrible software.

cleo (Omaha,NE): While not favored... I think Andre Dirrell is the most talented super at the moment I would be most happy if he comes out on top what say you?

Dan Rafael: I say Dirrell probably has the best physical tools of the six guys in terms of speed and defense. He is going to cause a lot of problems for guys.

R$ (Yay Area): Andre Berto posted the following on his Twitter page on Monday: "i just got word that Shane has a Nov 14th date in Vegas and i am the first canidate for that spot. u heard it first!!!! from the kid himself" Do you think it actually happens on the day Pacquiao vs Cotto is suppose to go down?

Dan Rafael: Nov. 14 is not the date in Vegas. I love Andre, but trust me, I am more informed on the boxing schedule than my man. Nov. 14 in Vegas is the date for Pacquiao-Cotto. If Shane fights it will be a different date. Berto could certainly be his opponent.

Robert (Marlborough): I saw that Lou DiBella signed Marcus Too Much Johnson. Saw him go toe to toe with Ward in the amatuers. What do you think of him?

Dan Rafael: Johnson is a good prospect and was a tremendous amateur. It is a smart signing by DiBella, who has had his eye on Johnson for awhile but was waiting for his contract with King to run out. King wasted this kid for years.

JNA (Bittersville, USA): I like you "pick of the week" classic fights section. Which of these two all-time classic fights would you say is most underrated: Azumah Nelson vs. Wilfredo Gomez, or Ike Quartey vs. Crisanto Espana?

Dan Rafael: Both terrific fights.

Brad (Fayetteville, AR): How freaking sick would it be (I know I'm dreaming) if somehow we got a double feature of Mosely-Berto and Cotto-Pacquiao!!!!? I would pay $100 for that broadcast for sure!

Dan Rafael: Dream on Freak.

Zach (MPLS): No analysis on Sturm-Gevor in the notebook today, pretty big fight two top 10 middleweights who ya got?

Dan Rafael: It's a decent fight. You are clearly way more excited than I am.

blake (ark): are these tourney fights PPV or on regular showtime?

Dan Rafael: Regular Showtime.

Eric (North Hollywood): If it makes you feel better, I have been knocking the crap out of Billy Dib in Fight Night Roud 4

Dan Rafael: Good.

Brian (Philadelphia): Dan, as a loyal reader of your chats, can you please talk to someone over there and have them fix the archive? You can't see any of your replies!

Dan Rafael: We're trying.

Aaron (Hartford): So is Mora def Pavliks next fight in the fall ?

Dan Rafael: No. It is undecided.

Armando (Nj): Dan - just got back in town from a biz trip to south america - my local colleagues are big Ricardo Torres fans - what's been up with him - it seems like he fell off the map - that dude can throw with the elite in the division.

Dan Rafael: He fought a few weeks ago in Colombia and won his fight.

Jr (San Jose,Ca): Would Khan versus Hatton be the biggest fight ever to happen in England? You have to figure the fight would fill a soccer stadium and the European pay per view numbers would be pretty big.

Dan Rafael: It would be big but nowhere near as big as, say, Lennox Lewis-Frank Bruno.

hr (illinois): Whats the word with Librado Andrade?

Dan Rafael: Somebody didn't read today's notebook.

Julio (Korea): If Marquez somehow pulls off the upset against Mayweather, what will this do for Marquez legacy as a mexican fighter? Would it put him up there in JCChavez Sr. Status?

Dan Rafael: It would absolutely huge.

Bry (SF): Any news on the Peterson bros. and Alvarado?

Dan Rafael: Anthony is supposed to return from knee surgery later this summer. Right now, he is penciled on Aug. 15 off TV on the undercard of the Donaire PPV. Lamont won a belt a couple of months ago and his schedule is not set. Alvarado, unfortunately, is in jail in Colorado on a probation violation and won't be out for about nine months, which means he probably doesn't fight until at least next summer.

Joel (Love Child): Dad. Why don't you love me!?

Dan Rafael: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the Love Child.

Matt ((Naperville, IL)): Any chance of CBS showing the fights on CBS through tape delay?They should go for trying to put the whole tourney on CBS, the finals anyway

Dan Rafael: It's something I have thought about. It would be excellent if there was a CBS component to this thing. Richard Schaefer and I talked about that exact thing and I wrote a bit on the topic in my blog for today, which should be posted already or will be soon.

Brian (Anaheim, CA): Do you think Donaire/Darchinyan II happens anytime soon??? Like other fans, this is one rematch I've been waiting for. It would be nice if it could materialize early next year - one can only dream unfortunately.....

Dan Rafael: It seems unlikely right now given the rhetoric coming from Gary Shaw.

JNA (Bittersville, USA): Benn - Eubanks was pretty big too, as I recall. Crazy, electric atmosphere that filtered through the TV broadcast. It was like watching a soccer derby.

Dan Rafael: That was another huge all-UK fight.

Julio (Korea): Any news on Prescott, the guy who knocked out Amir Khan?

Dan Rafael: He headlines on ESN2 FNF next Friday.

Luke (PL): Dan, what do you think on Demetrius Andrade? IMO he has a huge potential, but his last fight was a little disappointment.

Dan Rafael: I think he does have massive potential. He has had like five pro fights. If he didn't look sensational last time out, it happens. Mayweather, Oscar, Trinidad, Roy Jones, etc... also didn't always looked spectacular early on. Give him some time. He's very young and he has a lot of time grow into being a significant professional.

Mike (Vancouver, WA): Any updates on Vernon Forrest? Thanks Dan!

Dan Rafael: Who?

Eric (North Hollywood): Who do you think will pull out the victory from the Johnson/Solis fight? I'm leaning towards Johnson.

Dan Rafael: I agree with you.

Frank (Houston, TX): Was Pavlik offered a spot in the tourney?

Dan Rafael: No. Why would he be?

James ((Athens, GA)): Dan, what are the odds you get on Twitter to feed us freaks all the breaking news we need?

Dan Rafael: I've thought about it. I'm not sure I am ready for that plunge.

John (Ottawa): Dan, let's say that Billy Dib is on the undercard of Mayweather-Marquez in September, will you leave your seat at press row during Dib's fight?

Dan Rafael: Yes. I would use that time to go to the press room for a beverage. Maybe make a trip to the men's room.

Charles (Philly): Dude, you posted a story ON THE 4TH OF JULY! You don't need no stinking Twitter to get the word out to the freaks!

Dan Rafael: I think it is 100 percent false. No surprise given some of the wacky stuff that gets "reported" on some other sites.

Jonesy (Dallas): D$, I created a fighter that looks just like you on Fight Night Round 4, his name is Dan "The Tomato Can" Raphael. He's actually pretty good.

Dan Rafael: If you named him after me, you might want to spell my name right.

Dan Rafael: Hey guys, I'm back. Had a computer crash. It crashed worse than Hatton against Pacquiao.

Mike (Manila): Dan, Smackdown is here in Manila and it's my first time watching them live, who's your favorite wrestler?

Dan Rafael: That's pretty cool. I'm an Undertaker guy!

hr (chicago): Dan, Who is Edwin Valero's madatory challenger for the WBC belt?

Dan Rafael: The winner of tomorrow's DeMarco-Adajho Showtime fight.

Derek (Edmonton, Alberta): Dan, any word if the Ring will drop BHop from #1 due to inactivity so that Dawson/Road Warrior will crown a new world champ at 175?

Dan Rafael: Ring, like me in the ESPN rankings, usually won't drop a fighter until a year of inactivity.

Joe (San Francisco, CA): My main concern about the tournament is what happens if Ward or Dirrell gets KO'd in their first fight. Especially Dirrell. If he gets KO'd by Froch, are his handlers really going to put him in with Abraham next only 3 months later? That has the potential to be a career ruining scenario for a young prospect.

Dan Rafael: That's what they signed up for. No risk, no reward.

Joel (NY): Dan, do you think since Golden Boy is mainly an HBO thing, that Bute-Andrade 2 could turn up on a Golden Boy PPV?

Dan Rafael: No. Because the fight cost GB about $1.2 mil it's too expensive for a PPV undercard and not big enough to be a main event. Richard Schaefer is looking to do the fight in Mexico.

Mike (Fairfax, Va.): If Judah gets the Mosley fight, what kind of chance do you give him to unseat Sugar? Thanks.

Dan Rafael: Small chance, but Zab is fast and a southpaw with power. Shane has hd struggles with southpaws.

Juan (Miami, FL): Dan, any word on Sergio Martinez's next fight?

Dan Rafael: Supposed to be Sept. 26 in Spain vs TBA. You need to bookmark the schedule son.

Dennis (Miami): any news on what Ricky Hatton will do next?

Dan Rafael: If you mean in the literal sense, as in today, I would say he will order another pint.

JO (Nashville,TN): When is Pacquiao-Cotto official?

Dan Rafael: Arum is on vacation for another couple of weeks and back around July 20. I would say by early August it ought to be wrapped up.

sk (Arlington, VA): Is Adjaho a live opponent for DiMarco?

Dan Rafael: Yes. In fact, I view him as the favorite.

Chris (Boston): Dan, what happened to Manfredo as an opponent for Jacobs on 8/22?

Dan Rafael: Golden Boy made the deal with Jimmy Burchfield, who was Mandredo's promoter. But Manfredo split with him and signed elsewhere and his new promoter has different ideas. I suppose Golden Boy could try to make a deal for him without Burchfuield, but there may be a lawsuit and GB doesn't need that headache. Frankly, Mandredo isn't worth the headache for that fight.

Craig (Monrovia Ca): Dan do you know where the Donaire fight is being held?

Dan Rafael: The Hard Rock in Vegas.

Jorge ((East Los Angeles)): Dan, It's been a rough month or so with all the cancellations in boxing, but great job breaking the 168lb tourney on Showtime. I never thought they would get all the promoters to agree, but props to all of them for taking a risk, and as a fan you have to be pumped. I know we are 3weeks away, but which way are you leaning for the Alexander/Witter and Bradley Campbell fights?

Dan Rafael: I am super excited for the tourney! As for the other fights, I think Alexander should win but in a tough fight. The main event, I haven't made up my mind.

Romeo (Dc): 10 or 12 round fights in the preliminary stage of the super middleweight tourney?

Dan Rafael: All 12s.

Dustin ((West Palm Beach)): Dan, I have to respectfully disagree about USS Cunningham vs. Big Truck, to me, that spells all action with Big Truck's power and Cunningham's stamina/chin issues. It's KILLING me that I can't make the fight in person. A while ago you said you like Cunningham, still the pick?

Dan Rafael: Cunningham. Yes. Easy pick to me.

Aaron (Hartford): Duddy and JCC Jr for the fall ?

Dan Rafael: Possible. Arum has mentioned that fight to me a few times. He says he would like to make it.

Bry (SF): Why are the remaining HBO dates filled w/ GBP and Haymon's fighters?

Dan Rafael: You're an idiot. Last I checked, Vitali Klitschko was not with either. Kelly Pavlik, who may be on HBO in the fall isn't either. And, now that I think of it, neither is Chad Dawson or Glen Johnson. Of Cotto and Pacquiao. Stop drinking the Kool Aid.

Undefined: You're an idiot. Last I checked, Vitali Klitschko was not with either. Kelly Pavlik, who may be on HBO in the fall isn't either. And, now that I think of it, neither is Chad Dawson or Glen Johnson. Or Cotto and Pacquiao. Stop drinking the Kool Aid.

Shower Door (Las Vegas, NV): Forget Judah, I should get Mosley!

Miguel Melendez (California): What other options does Miguel Cotto have if the proposed fight with Manny Pacquiao doesn't get done because of contract demands by Manny?

Dan Rafael: First off, it probably will get done. If it didn't he could always look to a rematch with Mosley, for example.

Harry (Tucson, AZ): What are the chances of a Mosley-Williams fight happening in the fall?

Greg (Texas): Dan,If Showtime comes through with the tourney, do you see HBO doing anything special in response?

Dan Rafael: Slim and none.

Chris (Kalamazoo, MI): Hey Dan! Kudos to ESPN for picking up the Cruz-Solis fight. That a network giving the fans what they want. Nice work.

Dan Rafael: HBO doesn't need to do anything "in response" other than make the best fights it can and don't promise promoters dates without fights.

Isaac (Oxnard, Ca): The WBA makes me want to vomit. How the hell can they have three "Champions" at lightweight and do the fighters take these belts seriously?

Dan Rafael: Exactly what I wrote in my blog yesterday. The WBA is disgusting and a joke.

Doug (Tampa, Fl): Dano, how much does a 2lb weight drop really make? I guess my question is... Is dropping to 145lbs really a big deal for Cotto when he fights Pacman?

Dan Rafael: It is when you already stuggle to make 147. At some point, there is nothing left to give.

Justin (St Louis): Buy or Sell? The chances of that lame Joe Calzaghe comes out of retirement?

Dan Rafael: Why is he lame? Because he was a dignfied champion who retired undefeated? In any case, when I saw Joe in NYC a few weeks ago and talked to him he seemed very, very content in retirement.

Chris (Denver, CO): But, Dan-O, Cotto weighed in @ 146 for Clottey, surely another pound won't make much of a difference?

Tyler (Memphis, TN): Doug, ask Jose Luis Castillo how big a difference 2 lbs is. Ruined his career.

JNA (Bittersville, USA): I second the sentiments re. the WBA. It's like they're purposely trying to alienate their sport's fan base. Next thing you know, they'll make John "The Sominex Man" Ruiz ranked as a top-3 HW contender. Oh, wait... never mind. (Barfs copiously.)

Marc (Philly): How about the best Heavyweight in the world, "Fast" Eddie Chambers

Dan Rafael: Back away from the crack pipe. I see you have a new target of your stalking now that you have Steve Cunningham have broken up.

bernie (philly): DTM, are you going to be on the FNF broadcast tonight? Any chance of a midsummer RAD on Saturday?

Dan Rafael: Not tonight. I will be in Bristol and in studio for FNF on July 17 and August 14. No RAD on Saturday.

jd (monrovia): Dan, Who is ur top 5 fighter rite now?

Dan Rafael: Why don't you click on the p4p link and read the rakings I do every single month?

Billy (Patchogue, NY): He may be content in retirement, but he doesn't having the lasting legacy an undefeated champion should have. Not that he cares, but it's worth noting.

Dan Rafael: Of course he has a legacy. He's the best fighter ever from his country. He is probably the most accomplished super middle in history. He is undefeated. He beat a number of quality opponents. He won the legit title in two weight classes. And he has the hottest girlfriend ever.

Ochs (Webster, NY): Dan, been out of the loop due to work/classes on Fridays; first time with the new chat format. Sneaking in a chance to thanks for the excellent sausage making coverage of the tourney. Should be great to watch.

Jonathan (Northern VA): This software is absolutely horrendous. I look forward to this chat every Friday, and it's being ruined!

WBA (Dreamland): We appoint John McCain as President of the United States. We promote Barak Obama to Super President.

Dan Rafael: Classic.

Andrew (Toronto): Why do you think Vitaly will thump Haye more so than his little bro?

Dan Rafael: Because he has a better chin, he's bigger, meaner, longer reach and a more difficult style. I think he wastes Haye.

Joe Biden (white house): But I thought I was next in line to become president!

Dan Rafael: You are the Vice President, which is like being the "regular" president.

Bing (Philly): Everyone hates the new chat yet they still participate therefore ESPN has no need to fix it. You have to boycott before they'll do anything

Sarah Palin (Alaska): Im folksy.....how bout me for president in recess....

Brock (Usually Belleville but this week Outer Banks): This will sound a little crazy but does Cory Spinks have anything lined up? He is always the best chance that a relevant card comes to St. Louis.

Dan Rafael: He says he'd like to fight Kermit Cintron but he has nothing lined up.

Bing (Philly): Shhh. Keep it down. The WBA might hear you and make someone a champion emeritus, thus making 4 "champs" in the same division.

Dan Rafael: I hope they do make four in one division. I hope they make five or six or seven. Just more nail in their coffin.

Garbage Collector ((PBF's Dumpster)): If you run in to Floyd "Needs Money" Mayweather, can you tell him I'd like to get paid?

Miguel (Puerto Rico): There has been a lot of speculation in the Puertorican newspapers of Cotto maybe joining Golden Boy after his contract ends with Top Rank of the year. Is there any truth to this?

Dan Rafael: Any top fighter whose contract runs out could be a candidate to sign with Golden Boy given how they sign guys.

Ryan (Cleveland): How can I start a boxing association? What are the steps after: Be Corrupt?

Mark Sanford (South Carolina): Forget the Presidency, Anyone want to go to Argentina?

John Edwards (Training): I lost in two consecutive elections. Accordingly, I am the new WBA mandatory challenger for the Presidency.

WBA ((Because we can)): We also name George W. Bush "President-in-Recess" and George H. W. Bush "President Emeritus".

Matt (Philly): That john edwards comment is the best one of the day!

Dan Rafael: I liked the McCain/Obama one.

Sam (NJ): Do you think a fight between Arreola and Chambers would be more helpful or hurtful to American heavyweight boxing?

Dan Rafael: I don't think it helps or hurts. It's simply a fight that won't happen at this point. Down the road if it makes sense? Sure. But not before they've gotten title shots elsewhere.

Frank (Houston, TX): Dan I heard the ratings for the Klitschko fight on espn classic for horrible? Is that true? Does it concern you that espn may become less likely to show boxing?

Dan Rafael: They weren't horrible. They were better than a normal taped program. And considering ESPN paid nothing for the rights, I'd say it was a good deal.

Aaron (Hartford): I know the belts mean alot to the boxers....but can they look in the mirror and say I am a world champion..... oh yeah...along with 2 other guys at the same weight ....

Steve (NYC): Is Pavlik-Sturm still a possibility on HBO?

Dan Rafael: Yes. HBO has made an offer to Top Rank for the fight. If it happens, it will depend on if the two sides can get on the same page as far as what it is worth. HBO has one price in mind, which does not match with Top Rank's expectations.

Nick (Harrisburg, PA): Dan, I'm on twitter and happen to follow top rank. I got a message yesterday that they are working out details of a pavlik-froch fight. Must be b.s.?

Dan Rafael: Complete.

Jeff Fenster (NEW YORK): Hey Dan, I was wondering what you think the chances are of the SHOWTIME tournaments FINAL match being aired on CBS is?

Dan Rafael: I have no idea but it would be awesome. I'm sure if it is, it would be only be on delay, not live. But I guess you never know.

Dan Rafael: Hey Freaks -- the new blog has been posted. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4318843

Tommy (Detroit): Drove to Chicago this week and listened to all four solo albums again from KISS and have decided Ace's is the best. What is your favorite album of the four?

Dan Rafael: I agree with you.

Edwin (mahwah nj): will there be a 24 7 if cotto vs manny happens.

Dan Rafael: Yes, there is supposed to be.

Ryan (Cleveland): "They were better than a normal taped program." The fight was for the Heavyweight Championship of the world.

Dan Rafael: Yeah, and it was added to the lineup like five minutes before the fight with zero promotion.

WBC (Hell): I absolutely hate this idea for a tournament.

Rob (Atlanta): I have to give props in-flight internet, I hate flying as much as you do, but can tolerate it with boxing chat while flying

Dan Rafael: That's pretty cool.

Scott (CT): Dan, I'm thinking about taking a friend with me to Rodriguez-Hlatshwayo II to try to convert him to a freak. Any fighters of note on the undercard? I haven't been too impressed with Star Boxing's cards in the past, but there doesn't appear to be any big fights of note coming to this area.

Dan Rafael: Demetrius Andrade is supposed to be on the card.

juan (san fran bay area): hey dan do you think its possible hbo can have a similar middle weight tourney with williams pavlick bute andrade bute green bika

Dan Rafael: Extremely unlikely. Showtime's field has the best fighter in the division (Kessler), the two best up and coming guys in the division (Ward and Dirrell), the best guy moving into the division (Abraham), an undefeated titleholder who makes great fights (Froch) and a big name who has also been in some big fights (Taylor).

Mark (NYC): Dan, I dont have Showtime and thinking of subscribing because of the tourney. HBO has to do something to counter them.

travis (boise, id): top rank needs to sign denis boystov he's the best heavy right now

Dan Rafael: That would be a problem since he already has a promoter.

Derek (Brooklyn): Great blog. Nice comments by Schaefer. I really hope Showtime can get Viacom and CBS to get involved, there is great potential to make this a huge mainstream event

Dan Rafael: I agree. CBS involvement could send this thing over the top into the mainstream.

Justin (Indianapolis): Joining the chat late, but doing so as I start my work day. I've got to say....I love this tourney being set up by showtime at 168. I only wish it was possible to make it an 8-man tourney so that Pavlik and Bute could be added (assuming they'd want in).

Barak Obama (White House): I am still the only President. The $700 billion stimulus was in fact a sanctioning fee.

Randy (Shanghai): will the tournament fights originating from Europe be show live on Showtime or tape delayed?

Dan Rafael: I am not certain. I don't know this for a fact but I am told one thing that has been discussed is that, for example, the Abraham-Taylor fight may be shown on same-day tape paired with Froch-Dirrell going live at like 2 am UK time so we get it live in the US with the taped fight. But I do not know 100% what it's going to be.

Floyd Mayweather (Standing behind an old lady): I will fight anyone they put in front of me.

JJD (Seattle): For all those who want to make a Golden Boy/HBO conspiracy, this is worth repeating. "I think it is great news for the sport of boxing when another network [other] than HBO steps up to the plate and puts together a series of terrific fights," Schaefer said. "It helps everyone involved in boxing. The winner here is the fight fans."

vick (NYC): I think Taylor has a punchers chance in the tourney. U saw urself that both Frock and Pavlik could have just as easily lost in their fights with him. He is strong but has no stamina. I think he will def surprise us all and make it far.

Dan Rafael: But he is also not a puncher.

Mark (NYC): Dan, I dont have Showtime and thinking of subscribing because of the tourney. HBO has to do something to counter them.

Steve (NYC): Will any of the tournament fights wind up at MSG? Even though no one is a natural NYC draw it would be great to have some of the later fights at the mecca esp after this thing builds up through the preliminary rounds

Dan Rafael: Anything is possible. The Garden is hosting the Monday press conference.

JNA (Bittersville, USA): Props to Schaefer

R$ (Yay Area): What US TV networks are being considered for Bute-Andrade II in Mexico?

Dan Rafael: I don't know.

Sean (SF): Why the hell do the answers keep getting erased?!

Dan Rafael: I wish I knew. We're working on it.

Turk (DC): Miki Rodriguez is in a WBC title eliminator tomorrow? Oh boy maybe we can get the sequel the world has been waiting for, a rematch with Berto. Please don't let Berto ever fight whoever wins that fight.

Dan Rafael: It's a total joke that it's an eliminator but forrtunately, I do not believe it is a "final" eliminator.

vTurk (DC): ugh, this chat software has disappointed me for the past month, sadly it looks like we're stuck with it, too bad it may drive people away.

WBA (Amused): The WBC is a bunch of amateurs. Even death is not a final eliminator for us.

WBA (Insanity): We declare all fighters in the tournament to be champions. No titles will be lost and we continue collecting sanctioning fees.

Jamesa (Ottawa): Is ESPN's budget in the negative that they can't get someone to fix this worthless chat program.

Charles (Philly): It seems like the Klitschkos are out to teach Haye a lesson, one way or another. Did he really get under their skin?

Dan Rafael: I believe he really did, especially with his over-the-line T-shirt depicting the brothers being decapitated.

Tom Tuttle (Tacoma): Dan, an honest, snark-free question: do you sometimes feel that you're dedicating yourself to a dying, fringe sport? When I was a kid (I'm in my 40s), boxing was a topic of discussion among even casual sports fans, and not just the heavyweight division. Now, I honestly know nobody who follows or cares about boxing or could even name more than one fighter. Is there no hope for the future of a once-great sport?

Dan Rafael: Not at all. I got to all the fights and I see crowds of passionate, ticket-buying, pay-per-view buying honest to goodness boxing fans who are in love with the sport. And based on our readership, there are a lot of people out there who depend on the Internet for their boxing news because you can't get it in a newspaper anymore. We ain't going anywhere. Ever.

Freaks (On a rampage): The rippage on the WBA has been spectacular today.

Marcus (CA): I am going to make my bet right now that Taylor wins the tourney. Remember my prediction Dan when he wins

Dan Rafael: I give him no chance to win the entire thing. NONE.

Turk (DC): ugh, this chat software has disappointed me for the past month, sadly it looks like we're stuck with it, too bad it may drive people away.

Rick (Paterson): I agree that boxing is alive and well, but to follow up on Tom's point though, do you think Boxing will ever get back to mainstream relevance again?

Dan Rafael: Probably not but so what as long as it gives us the fights we wants and there is still money to make those fights happen? And in other countries, like Germany or Mexico or Puerto Rico, it is very much mainstream.

Bry (SF): I read in another site that HBO only offered 2 m for Pavlik-Sturm so that fight won't be happening anymore, so who's going to face Pavlik?

Dan Rafael: "Only" $2 million? It isn't worth much more at all in my opinion.

Bo (Jacksonville, FL): Had my wife (who is 7 months pregnant) watching Corrales-Castillo I on DVR last night. She got so excited she started having contractions (she's OK, though). Now that's how you know a fight is a classic!

Derek (Edmonton, Alberta): 2 million from HBO, millions more from German TV, plus live gate seems like enough to me.

Chris (Boston): Dan, I guess you missed Peter Manfredo KO of the Year candidate of Smichet. At 160, Manfredo is a contender. Don't hate.

Dan Rafael: First off, I did see the fight and the knockout. Second, Smichet is not much. At 160, Mandredo is NOT a contender. No hate. Just the stone cold truth.

andrew (nyc): what is it ESPN Deportes ?

Dan Rafael: Our Spanish-language network.

gre (jersey): Admit it Dan. You would rather watch Dib than John Ruiz..

Dan Rafael: Actually, I would rather watch Ruiz.

Dan Rafael: OK, Freaks, thanks for the chat. Hope you enjoy the fights this weekend and the notebook and blogs. Talk to you next week from the Hartford airport Sheraton! Peace.